No easy task playing goal for Canadiens
Rookie Lindgren stops 23 of 25 shots, but teammates have trouble scoring
Charlie Lindgren is quickly learning there isn’t much room for error when you’re a goalie with the Canadiens.
The rookie stopped 23 of 25 shots Tuesday night at the Bell Centre, but it wasn’t enough as the Canadiens lost 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets on an overtime goal by Zach Werenski.
Josh Anderson scored for the Blue Jackets in the first period and Paul Byron replied for the Canadiens in the third.
It marked the fourth time in 19 games this season that the Canadiens (8-9-2) have scored only one goal, and they have been shut out three times. Lindgren has not allowed more than two goals in any of the five games he has played in place of the injured Carey Price and his record is 3-1-1 with a 1.39 goals-against average and .957 save percentage.
Unfortunately for the Canadiens, Lindgren can’t score.
It didn’t help that the Canadiens had to play with seven defencemen against the Blue Jackets after forward Torrey Mitchell was a lastminute scratch with the flu, and Artturi Lehkonen was already out with a lower-body injury.
It was too late to call up a forward from the AHL’s Laval Rocket, so coach Claude Julien decided to play rookie defenceman Victor Mete as a left-winger on the fourth line with Jacob De La Rose at centre and Byron Froese on the right.
Mete fed De La Rose a perfect pass in front of the Columbus net in the first period, but he couldn’t beat goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped 28 of 29 shots.
“He did a good job,” Julien said of the 19-year-old Mete.
“I had talked to him already and he said he had played there before at times with his junior team in London. He actually said: ‘They put me at centre every once in a while when they wanted some speed.’ So I told him: ‘Centre’s not going to happen, but I can put you on the wing.’
“He skated well,” Julien added. “He made a great play there that one time in the first period for a scoring chance, so I thought he bailed us out really well.”
After the game, the Canadiens announced Lehkonen will be out indefinitely.
“It’s something he’s been playing with for a while, and he’s done a good job of playing with that injury,” Julien said about Lehkonen, who had 2-3-5 totals in 18 games. “But it’s coming to the point where it was unbearable and we needed to shut him down. If we want him
Every time I’m in there, it’s another great opportunity and I want to make the most of it.
to be better, we had to shut him down. So, it was the right move to make, I guess, at this time. Give him credit, he tried his best to play through it. Right now, we don’t know how long, so he’s out indefinitely.”
It looks like Lindgren will be the Canadiens’ No. 1 goalie for an indefinite period after Price announced Tuesday morning that his lower-body injury isn’t getting any better.
The Canadiens claimed veteran goalie Antti Niemi off waivers from the Florida Panthers on Tuesday and returned Zach Fucale to the AHL Rocket after the game.
“If you look at the big picture, I know before the game the nerves definitely aren’t what they were at the beginning,” Lindgren said about getting more comfortable in the NHL.
“So definitely, I feel like I’m really settling in and feeling really good every game.
“I don’t feel tired or mentally tired at all. Every time I’m in there, it’s another great opportunity and I want to make the most of it.”
If only he could score.
Canadiens forward Paul Byron watches the puck sail past Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to tie the game in the third period Tuesday night. Unfortunately, Byron’s late effort wasn’t enough as the Habs, for the fourth time in 19 games this season,...